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The Swimsuit Issue

But I love these shorts! I've worked hard to stay in shape and maintain the stamina it takes to do four hours on my feet in 5-inch heels. If I do say so myself, my high mileage legs literally and figuratively kick ass.
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Get out your surfboards, ladies! That silver tsunami keeps building, and we should be riding high as the wave crests.

Last month, I blogged about the impact of the Meryl Streep and Madonna magazine covers. This week, Vera Wang took it up a notch, posing in a fantastically classy one-piece bathing suit next to the placid swimming pool at her "Zen escape" home in Beverly Hills.

I get why the stylist put her in high heels (though Vera hastens to say she usually looks like "Lawrence of Arabia" at the beach), but I love that she's wearing virtually no makeup in the photo. Kick off the shoes, and she'd be ready to dive in.

The swimsuit issue is notoriously fraught for women of all ages, but especially for those of us who've done more than a few laps around the gene pool. If we're thin, we worry about looking like a bony hag. If we're not thin, we worry about looking liked a beached whale.

All too often, the response is to hide. Throw on that floor-length cover-up and don't go near the water.

Vera's always been rail thin, but her stance -- a combination of confidence, strength and accomplished beauty -- comes off as stunning. I hope millions of baby boomer women look at her and say the same thing I said: "I can do that." And I immediately went out and bought a swimsuit!

That's the power of images like this. A woman past the age of "perfect," showing us what we can aspire to, what we can attain. We see our own kind, and we can relate.

I'm about to launch some adorable Bermuda shorts in my spring line, and after HSN purchased 50,000 pairs, emissaries from corporate headquarters came to ask me the $250,000 Question: "Are you going to wear them on your show?"

I had to laugh at how gingerly they tiptoed into my office. Statistically, what I wear on the show sells like gangbusters, but they assumed a woman my age would rather die than expose herself like that on TV. Especially without benefit of a knee lift.

(Yes, there is such a thing as knee lift surgery. Demi Moore's patellae are a miracle of modern technology, but that's a topic for another day.)

Sure, a woman in her mid-60s would happily wear these shorts in her own rose garden, but would she really want to show eight million people that much leg?

After a long breath-held moment, I said, "Of course! Imperfect knees and all!"

No, I don't have perfect knee caps, and while the lighting on the TV set is kind, it's nothing like the flattering ambiance of a glossy magazine photo shoot that cures cruel cellulite and Photoshops anything that sags, bags or droops.

But I love these shorts! I've worked hard to stay in shape and maintain the stamina it takes to do four hours on my feet in 5-inch heels. If I do say so myself, my high mileage legs literally and figuratively kick ass.

More important, I feel like I'm among friends when I'm doing my show. If I wore jeans and let younger models breeze around in the Bermudas, I'd be sending a message to every baby boomer woman out there that she should hide her legs, cover up her body, sacrifice cool comfort rather than risk being judged by a narrow-minded eye.

I would never do that to a friend, especially when she tends to judge herself more harshly than anyone else in the world.

The message I'd rather send: "Come out, come out, wherever you are! I promise, you won't be alone."